Background: Malignant cells alter metabolism in order to enable their highly anabolic state. In addition to a massive increase in glycolysis, malignant cells frequently become dependent on glutamine to feed the TCA cycle and provide key building blocks for cell growth and proliferation. CB-839 is a first-in-class potent and selective inhibitor of glutaminase (GLS), the first step in glutamine metabolism, that has broad in vitro and in vivo anti-tumor activity in solid and heme malignancies, including multiple myeloma. GLS inhibition with CB-839 induces apoptosis and/or growth arrest in multiple myeloma and lymphoma cell lines and is synergistic with pomalidomide and lenalidomide in vitro and as well as in multiple myeloma xenograft models in vivo.

Methods: CX-839-002 is an ongoing Ph1 evaluation of escalating doses of CB-839 in patients with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma (MM) or non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL) with the primary objective of assessing the safety profile and selecting a recommended Phase 2 dose (RP2D). Pharmacokinetics (PK) was monitored on Days 1 and 15. Initially, CB-839 was given three times daily (TID) without food, but based on PK and safety data generated across three Ph1 studies in patients with solid and heme malignancies, the drug is now being given twice daily (BID) with meals.

Results: Safety data are available for a total of 14 patients (9 MM, 4 follicular lymphoma, 1 diffuse large B cell lymphoma) that have enrolled to date during the dose escalation (100-400 mg TID and 600 mg BID). The patients have received a median of 7 prior lines of systemic therapy. CB-839 has been well tolerated with only three subjects experiencing a Gr3/4 AEs considered possibly related to study drug and there have been no discontinuations due to AEs. A similar tolerability profile has been observed across three Ph1 studies for CB-839. With a total of 119 pts treated with CB-839 across the three studies, Gr3/4 drug-related AEs have occurred in 16 subjects (13%) and 4.3% of discontinuations were due to AEs. Reversible, asymptomatic elevations in transaminases have been the primary Gr3 AEs, occurring primarily on the TID schedule in 6/59 (10.2%) pts; only one occurred among 60 pts (1.7%) receiving the BID regimen. BID dosing with 600 mg was determined to be the RP2D and combination studies with pomalidomide and dexamethasone have been initiated.

The half-life of CB-839 is ~4 hr, exposure increases with dose, and trough concentrations generally remain above the target threshold of 200 ng/mL for patients receiving the RP2D. Six of 8 MM pts that received ≥ 400 mg TID achieved steady state (D15) trough concentrations above the PK target threshold while 0 of 5 pts that received ≤ 250 mg TID achieved the PK threshold. Pharmacodynamic assessment of GLS activity in MM patients was consistent with a broader PK/PD assessment (across all 3 Ph1 studies), which established clear exposure-dependent inhibition of the target in peripheral blood platelets 4 hr after the first dose of CB-839, with >90% inhibition being maintained for most patients at the RP2D. Preliminary efficacy data include confirmed stable disease in 4 of 9 evaluable MM patients. Updated efficacy data and correlative studies on clinical samples will also be presented.

The first pt treated with the combination of CB-839 and pomalidomide/dexamethasone (Pd) during dose escalation received 400 mg CB-839 BID, pomalidomide at 4 mg/day (D1-21) and dexamethasone at 40 mg on Days 1, 8, 15 and 22 of each 28-day cycle. This pt had a 71% decreased in urine M-protein and an 83% reduction in serum free light chain after the first 2 cycles of treatment. This pt had 11 prior lines of therapy but not pomalidomide and had two stem cell transplants and was progressing rapidly prior to study entry. The pt has tolerated the combination well and is continuing on study.

Conclusions: CB-839 has been well tolerated at and above doses that produced robust inhibition of GLS in blood platelets and in tumors. Dosing BID with food has improved the PK profile and mitigated the frequency and severity of LFT elevations, which was the primary safety signal using TID dosing. Strong preclinical combination data, an excellent clinical safety profile, and initial data with CB-839 combined with Pd provide a strong rationale for continued development of CB-839 this combination in pts with relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma.


Vogl:Constellation Pharmaceuticals: Research Funding; Calithera Biosciences: Research Funding; Celgene Corporation: Consultancy; Acetylon Pharmaceuticals, Inc.: Research Funding; Millennium Pharmaceuticals: Research Funding; GSK: Research Funding. Younes:Celgene: Honoraria; Curis: Research Funding; Sanofi-Aventis: Honoraria; Seattle Genetics: Honoraria, Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding; Janssen: Honoraria; Takeda Millenium: Honoraria; Bristol Meyer Squibb: Honoraria; Bayer: Honoraria; Incyte: Honoraria; Johnson and Johnson: Research Funding. Orford:Calithera Biosciences: Employment, Equity Ownership. Bennett:Calithera Biosciences: Employment, Equity Ownership. Siegel:Celgene Corporation: Consultancy, Speakers Bureau; Amgen: Speakers Bureau; Takeda: Speakers Bureau; Novartis: Speakers Bureau; Merck: Speakers Bureau. Berdeja:Curis: Research Funding; Acetylon: Research Funding; Novartis: Research Funding; Janssen: Research Funding; Takeda: Research Funding; BMS: Research Funding; Array: Research Funding; MEI: Research Funding; Abbvie: Research Funding; Celgene: Research Funding; Onyx: Research Funding.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.